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Monday, October 13, 2008

A Crowded Outfield

As the postseason truly begins to heat up and the bitter tie breaker loss to the Chicago White Sox slowly cools off, it's time to start my favorite part of the season... the offseason!

This is the time where rumors fly, speculation lifts, and we fire up what has now become known as the Hot Stove! How is ESPN so powerful that it can just make up terms for certain times of year in the sports calendar???

It is my favorite time because I get to live out my teenage, well and current dream, of being the Twins General Manager. The time where we get to tell Bill Smith everything we think he should do and then criticize everything he does after it is complete. Now I've already heard lots of Twins rumors and have read many different names already been tossed around, but I want to start with something we know. The Twins have a crowded outfield!

Between Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, and Jason Kubel the Twins do not have enough at bats. There are four positions (LF,CF,RF,DH) and five players who all make the case to be everyday players. Part of me thinks they should just keep all five guys for depth, injury possibility, and if anyone struggles, but then I think of our holes as shortstop and thirdbase and how maybe one of these outfielders could be the piece to move to fill our own puzzle.

I know the initial idea is to simply move Michael Cuddyer back to thirdbase and we kill two birds with one stone. Figuratively, Cuddy being one stone and crowded outfield and thirdbase vacancy being two birds! But I think the Twins organization has been quite clear of their desire not to do this and I think it is definitely one of those easier said then done circumstances.

I feel confident in saying that the Twins will not move Carlos Gomez or Denard Span. Gomez was the centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal and despite some ugly moments in 2008, his defense and speed alone are enough to keep him on. Span became a huge spark plug that showed incredible leadoff hitter potential, web gem defense, and good speed on the bases. Although, based on Span erratic Minor League track record I think now is the best time ever to trade this kid, but alas I think both of these guys will be in Fort Myers come next February.

I really don't want to waste my time proving while Jason Kubel should not be traded. So I'm not going to. I hope the Twins would not make a foolish move like this and so I'm just going to tell myself they won't. So that leaves us with Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer.

Both have reasons to stay and to leave. Young was the centerpiece of the Matt Garza deal and it would appear as giving up early if we moved him in a deal. The second year player struggled in the first half but came alive in the second half of the year to post decent numbers at best, but showed more hints of a potentially great hitter. Yet Young often appeared as if he didn't care too much and I've read rumors he "didn't fit in" too well in the Minnesota clubhouse which is the nice way to say no one really likes him.

Michael Cuddyer's 2008 campaign was nothing short of a bust due to injury. He played in just 71 games and hit .249 with 36 RBIs. Cuddyer have a great arm in rightfield and is certainly one of the faces of this team. He plays the game hard and is a good guy, but we all know nice guys finish last. On many plays made by Span this season I thought to myself, "Self, there is no way Cuddyer would have made that play!" Plus, we all know Cuddy hit .284 with 24 HRs and 109 RBIs in 2006, but we all should know that he's never since come close to that!

It will be difficult to move Cuddyer with two remaining years on his 3-year $24 million deal plus his value is way down after missing so much time. I don't really want to move Delmon and see him go hit .300/20/100 for some other club, but he clearly would bring more value in return. Only time will tell. You know who I think is the odd man out... but who do you think should be moved in this crowded situation?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John, You know me, do not want to hurt anyones feelings. Why not keep them all and try Cuddyer back at 3rd base it really cannot be any worse than we had it this year. Plus since the Twins management is always kind of tight with the cash this would probably be cheaper than trying to trade and buy a new good infielder. Wait and see! Dad